Highway fresas

I can’t help but feel a little jealous. This past weekend my suegros and my cuñada took a road trip from Mexico City to visit Abuelita Ana in Aguascalientes. I’m jealous for two reasons: one obviously being that they spent time with abue, whom I absolutely adore, but two, that they stopped for strawberries in Irapuato on the way back to El D.F. yesterday.

One of my favorite things from our road trip to Aguascalientes this past summer for abue‘s 90th birthday was the quaint little strawberry stands alongside the carretera in Irapuato. It was my first time road-tripping anywhere more than a a few hours outside of Mexico City, and I absolutely loved being able to see so much of the countryside, passing through towns I had previously only ever read about or heard about in stories from family members…. 

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GARIBALDI

By now, you all know about my deeply rooted love for pan dulce, especially for a particular chochito-covered panque from El Globo called el garibaldi. In fact, El Globo is credited as the original maker of garibaldi, a little pound cake bathed in apricot jam and covered in white nonpareils. Many bakeries in Mexico try to emulate these little magical cakes, but nobody makes them quite like El Globo.

During our trips to Mexico City, we’ve always purchased them fresh to eat for breakfast. With a little café con leche, I can’t imagine a better way to start a day. On one occasion, we carefully wrapped a few to bring home with us to Chicago, but sadly they got slightly smashed in our carry-on luggage and from then on, we decided they didn’t travel well. And after eating garibaldi on countless visits to Mexico City, I returned from our most recent trip with a serious mission: to spend time in the test kitchen trying to recreate them so I wouldn’t have to wait until my next trip to Mexico to eat them. Looking at my calendar, five months is a long time – too long, if you ask me – to deny myself one of my favorite sweet treats…. 

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Wordless Wednesday: Garibaldi

I’ve mentioned before my love for a bakery called El Globo – but by far my most favorite thing they sell are these precious little pastries called Garibaldi.

These little pound cakes, about the size of a muffin but without the top, are typically bathed in an apricot or raspberry marmalade and then rolled in white nonpareils (known as grageas in Spanish) for decoration. My favorite are the apricot-flavored.

Every time we visit, my suegra will pick up fresh Garibaldi for the day we want to eat them. They’re great as a breakfast pastry or a dessert and they’re the perfect treat because they aren’t gooey or sticky, the cake is perfectly moist and they’re not overly sweet.

I’m on a quest to learn how to make these at home this year because only being able to have them a few times a year is torture! I’ve dreamed about these little cakes and hopefully soon I’ll have a recipe to share here, or at least a comic tale of marmalade-coating-gone-wrong.

  • What’s your favorite Mexican pastry?

Feliz Día de Los Reyes

Feliz Día de Los Reyes and Happy Three Kings Day; today is the holiday known as Epiphany, 12 days after Christmas and the day that the three wise men arrived in Bethlehem with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the baby Jesus.

In Mexico, one of the most common ways to celebrate this holiday is with a rosca de reyes, a sweet yeast-bread adorned with dried or candied fruits that have been soaked in rum or brandy and topped with a buttery and sugary paste akin to the topping on a concha roll.

Baked inside the cake is a tiny baby Jesus figurine, and whoever cuts the piece of cake with the baby Jesus inside is responsible for bringing tamales to the family’s Día de la Candelaria (Candlemas) celebration on February 2. The figurine symbolizes the hiding of the baby Jesus from King Herod’s men. Traditionally, the whole family gathers around the table to cut the cake while sipping on chocolate caliente, each person taking their turn until everyone gets a piece and until the baby Jesus figurine is found.

My favorite Rosca de Reyes (pictured here) comes from a bakery chain called El Globo, which I first got to know in Mexico City. Their traditional rosca is also made in an individual size and this year on my last day in Mexico, my suegra bought me one, wrapped it up and stuck it in my carry-on bag so I’d have a rosca to cut on Día de Los Reyes…. 

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Wordless Wednesday: Atole y Coyotas

Last night I ate dinner at Merendera Las Lupitas, one of our favorite spots to eat in Mexico City. My favorite part was what came at the end of the meal: an atole and coyotas, which are a traditional dessert that originated in Sonora. They’re usually made with masa harina de trigo and stuffed with piloncillo. The coyotas at Las Lupitas are the best I’ve ever had. I’ll see if I can’t get my hands on a recipe to share with you soon. For more on atoles, check out my recipe for champurrado, an atole made with chocolate. And if you’re visiting Mexico City, you can find Las Lupitas right off of the Plaza Santa Catarina in the Coyoacán neighborhood.

  • What’s your favorite kind of atole? Have you ever had coyotas?

SALSA DE ARÁNDANOS

As a little girl, I never liked whole cranberries and on Thanksgiving I always preferred the canned jellied cranberry sauce over the fresh cranberries my mom or my aunt made. Now that I’m a bit older and my palate is a little more refined, I prefer to make fresh cranberry sauce for my Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, it’s probably my favorite part! I’ve been known to make tortas de pavo topped with arándanos the whole week after Thanksgiving just to have an excuse to keep eating them.

This recipe has been passed on through two generations in my family, and now I’d like to share it with you. If you’ve ever been afraid that making cranberry sauce from scratch would be too difficult, you’re in good company. This recipe, though, is so easy that you won’t believe you didn’t try making your own with fresh, whole cranberries sooner. From start to finish, it takes about 15 minutes and it’s a perfect balance of spicy and sweet. These are great for Thanksgiving or La Navidad, too…. 

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